Why I can’t give Grantham a complete pass.

Look, I get the youthful inexperience problem (although it doesn’t explain Swann’s inconsistencies).  I really do. (As an example, the puzzlement in the stands around me about who would go in when Herrera got hurt was almost comical.)  I’m legitimately excited about the development I’m seeing out of guys like Leonard Floyd and Josh Harvey-Clemons.  And we’re seeing concrete improvement from Georgia’s run defense – at the end of the first half, the Dawgs had given up a total of 22 rushing yards in their last six quarters of play.

But I’m having a really hard time getting past that play call on 3rd-and-23 yesterday.

Here’s the list of things that the Georgia defense was doing competently to well against LSU at that point:  defending the run, rushing the passer.  Here’s the list of things the defense wasn’t doing competently:  everything else. And yet, at the moment when his team needed a crucial stop and had a chance to take control of the game late, Grantham chose to take the play out of the hands of a group that was getting it done and put it in the hands of a group that had struggled all day to handle a textbook pocket passer with an NFL-quality arm and the two best receivers in the conference.  The results were predictable, and I mean that literally, as Mettenberger had converted another third down and long situation against a three-man rush earlier in the second half.  Basically, Grantham played with matches in that situation and got burned.

I will say he deserves some credit for learning, because he ditched that prevent strategy the last time Mettenberger got the ball back and sent the pass rush after him hard.  (Did anyone see Jenkins get up the air the way he did on the fourth down attempt?  Whoa.)  But I really don’t get that call.  It’s rather amazing that it didn’t cost his team the game.

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53 Comments

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53 responses to “Why I can’t give Grantham a complete pass.

  1. Derek

    I can understand the critique but at least they did some things to give us a chance which is more than I can say for the lsu staff. Cover 2 or quarters all day and we ate it up.

    Forget covering anyone, if the DB’s could just tackle better as a group, we’d take a lot of pressure off the offense. The first TD on swann was not pretty. He was in single coverage with no safety help and got out of position. He’s got to make a tackle there and live to play another down.

  2. Skeeter

    We just gotta get budder.

  3. TennesseeDawg

    Not to mention about 3 Dawgs were standing at the WR when he caught. All of them looking clueless

    • The Lone Stranger

      Well Mauger stuck his helmet up under his chin nicely, but those LSU wideouts didn’t drop anything. Of course, I don’t recall many Dawg out-and-out drops even though AM was 20-for-34.

      • ETennDawg

        I felt like there were 3-4 drops. May have been because of the non-call PI’s.

        • HahiraDawg

          Yes, 3-4, and most if not all were by JSW, but he redeemed himself quite well didn’t he.

          • WF dawg

            I was a little worried that JSW had the yips after he dropped that perfectly placed deep ball and one or two others, but you’re right–he was clutch when it counted.

          • JasonC

            JSW was being interfered with on a few of those and I think he let that get into his head because they weren’t calling it.

  4. wileycopy

    I noticed a couple of the Lb’s were going into a soft coverage about 7 or 8 yards off the line of scrimmage and seemed to mostly render themselves a non factor in the play. mettenberger consistantly torched us when that seemed to be the case. Me being the full aggro mode kind of fellow like I am says that if the lbs arent any good in pass coverage send them in to tear the qb’s head off.

  5. Heathbar09

    3rd and Todd?

  6. Turd Ferguson

    My impression of the CBs so far is that Wiggins is pretty good, Langley *can* be pretty good, and Swann is borderline hopeless.

    I also had to do a name-check yesterday, since I don’t recall ever hearing of Quincy Mauger. Are we really that thin at safety? Or has this guy just done something in practice that we’re not hearing anything about?

    • The Lone Stranger

      Corey Moore (#39) worked his way in there a few times, but I kept reading that he was the go-to guy at FS. Not so in the first 4 games.

    • The Lone Stranger

      Also, I think he is working his way back from an injury to boot.

    • HahiraDawg

      I am not ready to call it quits on Swann yet. Langley looks slow though, too much consistent separation. I want to see more of Wiggins. He seems to be around the ball more.

  7. Go Dawgs!

    The defense was not young and inexperienced last year. And it was routinely shredded. The fact that we ended up five yards short in the SEC Championship Game kinda glosses over our defense’s very real struggles from a year ago. Grantham’s defense’s inability to stop the run in the second half was the reason that we ended up short instead of in the national championship game. South Carolina absolutely destroyed us last year. We were great defensively in 2011. But that’s the only time in his tenure that I’ve felt comfortable enough to say that.

    I’m excited about some of the players and the way they are developing. But Grantham doesn’t get a pass with me just because we have so many young players.

  8. JN

    While I wouldn’t have only sent three, I can agree to disagree with that part. What I can’t agree with is not having a minimum of at least 2 backers in the box to make LSU at least think we may send anywhere from 3-6 players.

  9. Brandon

    I’m with you Senator, we are 3-1 because our offense is insanely good, if it was merely good we’d be 2-2 or even 1-3, but were that the case I am sure the moving truck would be out in front of Bobo’s house instead of Grantham’s and I just don’t get it. I probably sound like a broken record on this point but I’ve just got to say if you want to see an example of the difference between the average Georgia fan mindset and the mindset of LSU fans take a look at the immediate post game reaction over at And the Valley Shook and the vast majority of the comments they are rightly pointing the blame for their loss at their defense, particularly their secondary. If our situation’s were exactly reversed I think we’d have a sizable contingent of Georgia fans blaming Bobo for not getting it done on the last drive and for running Marshall up the middle all day. Kudos, to you for not giving Grantham a pass in the midst of our victory jubilee. Even the greatest of offenses have off days every now and again, I hope our defense can grow up enough to pick up the slack when that day inevitably comes and if it can’t I hope the fans point the finger in the right direction rather than insisting on killing the goose that lays the golden eggs.

  10. TlkDawg

    The only difference between Willie’s defense and Grantham’s defense in that game is that Willie’s wouldn’t have made the stop at the end of the game and we lose. We are loaded with talent all over the field and yet we can’t stop anyone. Is this worth $750,000.

    • Brandon

      I agree Willie was worse, he was a program wrecker by the end the players had lost all confidence in him because they knew that even if they executed his calls exactly they would still be seeing the backs of people’s jersey’s. Willie would have dropped into coverage at the end as well. I think Grantham knows what he is doing but I think sometimes his schemes are too complicated for college players which results in a lot of busted plays no matter what and youth when he has youth truly being served on a platter. Grantham does have a legit youth issue the Senator is very right about that, but last year’s defense didn’t and while it was great in spots it was far from dominant, and if you can’t be dominant as a DC with those guys we had last year you never will. Grantham is better than Willie, he can develop linebackers, and he is competent with talented upperclassmen and not so much if he does not have that. I don’t hate Grantham I think he’s an average DC which is a step up from what we had, but I don’t understand the complete pass a lot of Georgia fans give him. I think he sold a lot of people just by filling our psychological need to have someone with “fire” on the sidelines. I don’t like calling for the firing of coaches but I’d rather see Grantham gone than Richt. If we ever want the rings Florida, LSU, and Alabama have we need find somebody who can coach youth up to competency and when he is loaded with your Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree’s produces defenses worthy of the moniker junkyard dawgs.

  11. David K

    Silver Lining…. If you’re a 4 or 5 star corner or safety and you were at that game yesterday you’ve got to think you can commit to the G and get some early playing time. I hope we had a ton of recruits at that game.

  12. Bulldog Joe

    Both defenses are very young due in large part to early NFL draftees.

    {t’s important to note all four sacks in the game came from our defense.

    • Bulldog Joe

      …and let it be known we won the special teams battle yesterday.

    • Will (the other one)

      Also encouraging: we not only stopped a wheel route, but held LSU to under 200 yards rushing (and have allowed fewer than 100 total rush yards the past two games.) The D looked bad on 3rd down and in coverage, but far more signs point to it being the result of youth (and thus easier for improvement). Unlike last season where we had multiple NFL draft picks in our front seven yet kept giving up rushing yards in massive chunks to non-powerhouse rushing teams (UK, UT, Buffalo).

  13. pantslesspatdye

    I like defense. I would prefer to watch the other team having the ball if it were not for the greater likelihood they would score points over us when we have the ball. That said, I thought the overall defensive game plan was great-my expectations are that low. We can’tdo aanything else, so we stopped the run and got 3 sacks. our ypung dB’s looked confused the entire game. That would have been the case either way. I hope we see some development over the season and into next year.

  14. I almost burst a blood vessel on the 3rd and 23. I couldn’t believe that was the call. Seemed like the drive at the end of regulation vs Michigan St

  15. Hobnail_Boot

    Ray Drew was held in almost comedic fashion on that play.

  16. DAWG-I-AM

    When does Lakatos start getting some blame. I never hear his name mentioned. I understand Grantham is the DC but the front seven played well yesterday and only the DBs seemed lost. Is he not coaching them up? I am not accusing, just asking.

  17. Gene Simmons

    How many times did we give up a middle route? On third down? For a TD?
    I lost count. I am not a defensive guru, but it SEEMS like that would be something we could ADJUST to. It was there ALL DAY for Mett. It is a wonder we didn’t lose it by 14. Time for someone to man up on D.

  18. Bright Idea

    I’ve said it before, SIMPLIFY and watch the defense get better. LSU motion and shifts left the coverage clueless.

    • Brandon

      Yes, yes, a thousand times yes, this ain’t the NFL, I think CTG throws too much at the players quite frequently, we trick ourselves as much or more than we trick others and with youth the problem is even worse.

    • JasonC

      This kinda resonates with me, because I think the biggest thing is that the guys just look confused. We were lined up poorly quite a bit, making adjustments and sorting stuff out while the ball was being snapped. It was Keystone Cops on a few plays.

      He (and CSL) either needs to scale things back or do a better job of preparing them. I do believe we were hurt by injuries in the preseason that cut down reps, but as a coach you have to recognize that and adjust.

      Also, we got better when we replaced that Swain kid with Swann.

  19. Russ

    Well the defense has me so well trained that I was expecting LSU to make 3rd & 23. At least the talking head are starting to realize that the “Murray can’t win the big one” meme is due in large part to a defense that regularly gives up 30 – 40 points in said big games. I heard Mark May and I think the Gameday crew say it specifically yesterday. It’s about time.

    Perfect strategery by Jordan Jenkins to break out the RB vault on the last stop. I didn’t see him try it all game until then. Even though he didn’t make the sack, he certainly rattled Mett into throwing off his back leg and overthrowing the receiver. Big!

    • Brandon

      As usual we are in sync, I was pretty darn sure they’d convert the 3rd and 23, I was surprised they held on the last LSU series, but pleasantly surprised, pressure covereth up a multitude of sins.

  20. It looked like, to Mett, that he was going to come clean – Mett couldn’t take the chance at that point – he had to gun it. Great play to high jump at that juncture.

  21. Things that really caught my attention in the game … Leonard Floyd looks to have the tools to be a beast for the rest of this season and 2 more! Marshall was a half-step away from breaking a long run on a couple of different occasions. How many times did our D serve up the over the middle passes to Hill?

    An interesting (and perplexing) comment by Jordan Jenkins in the Seth Emerson piece … “One concern is communication: Not enough players know all the calls on defense. That leads to some breakdowns in the secondary.” Maybe Grantham’s schemes are too complicated for college boys.

    • UbiquitousGaAlum

      Having 4 true FR out there (Mauger, Mathews, Langley & Wiggins) prob adds to the communication issues.

    • Will (the other one)

      Let’s hope they learn the calls by the Missouri game. Not overlooking UT, but as far as threats to the D, Missouri worries me a good bit more.

  22. doofusdawg

    we are awesome when we get to play a straight 3-4… we are terrible in nickel. I would love to see a yards per play in base vs. nickel stat. I bet it’s like 3 vs. 10.

  23. reipar

    Why can’t you give Grantham a pass? Everyone else has no problem passing it against him :)

  24. Connor

    Senator, you can just borrow one from Mettenberger. He gave Grantham 23 complete passes.

  25. I agree with the commenters that posit that it might be a matter of Grantham’s scheme is too complicated for college players, especially young ones, with the limited practice time and abundance of different offensive schemes of the college game.

    I pretty much hate Danielson but he was actually on his game yesterday in pointing out how many times our D looked confused prior to the snap. And that 3rd and 23 left me with no confidence we weren’t going to OT if not losing on the last LSU drive. Did stop the run well and Floyd looks like a player.

    The only pass ill really give Grantham and the secondary is that LSU had two legit NFL receivers out there yesterday. Obviously there were more than enough blown coverages but there were also some great plays from a locked in QB to very good receivers. Sometimes the other guys just beat you.

    Ill be more ticked off when it’s random UT receivers running free next week.

  26. charlottedawg

    We’re 3-1 because our offense has been insanely good. If they were just good we’d be 1-3 probably with at least one blow out. I’m not recommending Kiffining the guy and he’s not terrible But he’s not an elite sec dc by any stretch of the imagination.

    As far as I can tell the only difference between Todd and Willie is that the former actually develops nfl caliber talent. If I’m being generous Grantham can seem to make that one stop at the end of the game when they absolutely need to. Bend but don’t break squared. Their units as a whole don’t really seem all that different statistically. Outside of Michigan state I can’t remember the last time grantham held a decent offense to under thirty points. (And yes I understand turnovers and special teams have chipped in plenty of points for opponents)

    Having a bunch of freshman is not a valid excuse. It might be if you Have the resume of a Chavis or Saban and it’s a one year hiccup but when scheme, recruiting, & development are 100 percent under your control AND the defense sucked last year with a bunch of nfl talent, I’m inclined to believe the source and responsibility of said suckitude lay at feet of the dc.

  27. Olddawg 55

    I find it hard, as a former defensive coach, to criticize CTG, since he’s at UGA and I’m on the wrong side of 75, but, damn, no one rushes just three against an outstanding (and, yes, he is!) QB and great receiving corps, on 3rd and 23!! I saw AFA go into that mode against Wyoming leading by 3 TDs and get picked apart to lose the game!! Go “Jailbreak” and make the QB do something in a hurry and maybe even our freshmen can cover for six seconds. And, yes, maybe CTG is making it a little too complex..let a little public outcry, even by non-arena types, make him think a little. Yes, even tho’ he’s an assistant, Lakatos bears some responsibility. We can’t coast the rest of the way!!

  28. PlatoDawg

    Todd Grantham has pretty much been schooled, by every decent OC he’s faced in 4 seasons thus far.The explanations change from year to yea,r as to why this happens,but the bottom line is… we have given up 30 or more pts to the majority of rank teams we’ve played under Grantham.The eye for talent is there,the emotion and ability to inspire the kids is there,The in-game strategy is woefully lacking from Grantham though and overrides all his positives.Perhaps he should share the gameday play calling with Wilson
    this worked out pretty well with Willie and BVG,

  29. I really hope someone takes another run at Grantham. For whatever reason, he really has never gotten it done.

    He’s had enormous NFL talent and we have really never had a dominant defense under him.

    I think he has gottan a free pass because his personality is so Erk Russell-like and Bobo derped it up so badly for so long.

  30. JRW7

    Great game, great win for the Dawgs, AM had a great game, but CTG’s defenses give up too many points!